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Published October 09, 2008

High fuel prices are not going away. You can fight back by following these simple but effective suggestions. Post them around the house, or write them on the back of your hand with a permanent marking pen.

1) Use fuel slowly. If you use it fast, it won't last as long.

2) After you get really good at using fuel slowly, try to go even slower.

3) Don't lose fuel. When you put fuel somewhere, make a note of the location so you can be sure and find it later when you need it.

4) Avoid wasting fuel. Whenever you're carrying a container of fuel, be sure not to spill any. You should also learn to recognize the sound of fuel leaking from a hole in the container. The less fuel you waste, the more you'll have available later on when you need it.

5) Never loan fuel, even to friends or relatives. Studies have shown that in many cases, people who borrow fuel never bring it back.

6) Make sure the fuel you're buying is genuine. Whenever a commodity goes up in value, criminals will attempt to swindle unsuspecting consumers. For example, If anyone ever offers to sell you a 55-gallon drum that has the words "Radioactive Waste" crossed out and replaced with "Fuel," there is definitely cause for concern.

7) Do not respond to ads on TV or in newspapers saying "We pay big money for your old fuel!" Never send fuel through the mail for a "free appraisal." These are typical methods used to perpetuate fuel fraud.

8) Avoid long trips that consume large amounts of fuel by finding places to visit that are close to home. Start by knocking on doors along your street. In many areas, neighbors turn out to be fascinating people. Some of them may have backyard swimming pools, hammocks, and other amenities that rival any destination resort.

9) Educate family members about the importance of conserving fuel. If you overhear your child playing with dolls and planning a "pretend party at the beach," intervene quickly and tell the child it would be much more fuel-efficient and personally beneficial to have the dolls relax on the back patio and do some serious reading. You can even make this into a craft
activity by using paper and glue to construct doll-size "pretend editions" of Proust, Stendhal, and Thomas Hardy.

10) Develop positive emotions about fuel. Feelings of contempt, disdain, or hostility toward any aspect of your daily life can disrupt your ability to make good decisions involving the object of your scorn. Treat fuel as you wish to be treated. Visualize a team effort. If you need a special phrase to maintain this mind-set here's an easy reminder--repeat as often as
needed: "I'm okay, my fuel's okay."

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